-- President Obama, March 30, 2011
Rising prices at the pump affect everybody – workers and farmers; truck drivers and restaurant owners. Businesses see it impact their bottom line. Families feel the pinch when they fill up their tank. For Americans already struggling to get by, it makes life that much harder. Demand for oil in countries like China and India is only growing, and the price of oil will continue to rise with it. That’s why we need to make ourselves more secure and control our energy future by harnessing all of the resources that we have available and embracing a diverse energy portfolio.
Every president since Richard Nixon has called for America’s independence from oil, but Washington gridlock has prevented action again and again. If we want to create a more secure energy future, and protect consumers at the pump, that has to change. When President Obama took office, America imported 11 million barrels of oil a day. Today, he pledged that by a little more than a decade from now, we will have cut that by one-third, and put forward a plan to secure America’s energy future by producing more oil at home and reducing our dependence on oil by leveraging cleaner, alternative fuels and greater efficiency.
We’ve already made progress toward this goal – last year, America produced more oil than we had in the last seven years. And we’re taking steps to encourage more offshore oil exploration and production – as long as it’s safe and responsible. And, because we know we can’t just drill our way out of our energy challenge, we’re reducing our dependence on oil by increasing our production of natural gas and biofuels, and increasing our fuel efficiency. Last year, we announced ground-breaking fuel efficiency standards for cars and trucks that will save consumers thousands of dollars and conserve 1.8 billion barrels of oil.
And beyond our efforts to reduce our dependence on oil, we must focus on expanding cleaner sources of electricity, including renewables like wind and solar, as well as clean coal, natural gas, and nuclear power – keeping America on the cutting edge of clean energy technology so that we can build a 21st century clean energy economy and win the future.
To help us reach these goals, the Obama Administration is releasing a Blueprint for a Secure Energy Future (pdf) – which outlines the comprehensive national energy policy that this Administration has pursued since day one, and the which we will build upon to secure our energy future. The Blueprint is aimed to:
Develop and secure America’s energy supplies: We need to deploy American assets, innovation, and technology so that we can safely and responsibly develop more energy here at home and be a leader in the global energy economy. To get there, we need to:
- Expand Safe and Responsible Domestic Oil and Gas Development and Production
- Lead the World Toward Safer and More Secure Energy Supplies
Provide consumers with choices to reduce costs and save energy: Volatile gasoline prices reinforce the need for innovation that will make it easier and more affordable for consumers to buy more advanced and fuel-efficient vehicles, use alternative means of transportation, weatherize their homes and workplaces, and in doing so, save money and protect the environment. These measures help families’ pocketbooks, reduce our dependence on finite energy sources and help create good jobs here in the United States. So, we’re implementing policies that:
- Reduce Consumers Costs at the Pump with More Efficient Cars and Trucks
- Cut Energy Bills with More Efficient Homes and Buildings
Innovate our way to a clean energy future: Leading the world in clean energy is critical to strengthening the American economy and winning the future. We can get there by creating markets for innovative clean technologies that are ready to deploy, and by funding cutting-edge research to produce the next generation of technologies. And as new, better, and more efficient technologies hit the market, the Federal government needs to put words into action and lead by example. That’s why we need to:
- Harness America’s Clean Energy Potential so that 80 percent of electricity will come from clean energy sources by 2035
- Win the future through Clean Energy Research and Development
- Lead by Example so that the Federal Government models best practices and clean energy technologies
Heather Zichal is Deputy Assistant to the President for Energy and Climate Change